Out of interest how many people on this forum are a member of an organised club or league that's affiliated to their National Association and how many are what commonly referred to as "basement" or "social" players?
I am sure that every German here is a member of a club. There are over 10,000 clubs in Germany
, this is equal to 1 club for every 8,000 population on average. You do not need to be a "basement" player, because you can always find a club
in the neighbourhood.This is possible, because the clubs can use the schools gyms.
This is also a proof, that popularity of TT has nothing to do with rule changes, but in the first place with the access to school gyms. I can not believe, that the ITTF don not know that.
Correckt. Not only do some clubs use a school gym, that school gym is available for use at a very reasonable hour.
For example, when i lived in my adopted hometown in a German city of 1/4 million population, my wife was the co-owner/manager of an art gallery. At the time, I was not a TT player, but little did I know, not even 100 meters from the gallery I went to nearly every day, there was an elementary school that hosted a top-rate club. Here are the training hours.http://tischtennis.eintracht-wiesbaden.de/training/
here is a link to a webpage that shows the major clubs in hte surrounding area. Most, if not all these areas, although not in the city proper, are very close to the city and should be considered a part of the city, even if their villiage has its own name and identity. Note that well over 1/2 of htese clubs use a school.http://www.sporton.de/CMS/users/templates/template.asp?user_id=229162&page_id=36183
It is not possible to use a school to train and play if the school kids are using the gym for something else. In USA, we have mostly basketball and volleyball that take up the gym after school, so training at 6 PM (1800) Monday - Friday is practically impossible to do at most schools in USA, even elementary schools have their gyms booked up a lot during the week.
Although I am not a German expert or German citizen, I would confidently say teh popularity of TT in Germany is helped GREATLY by the sport culture in general, funding for the state for schools, LARGE exposure in both school and TV to the sport (it is HUGE in Germany), sucessful world class athletes, a STRONG organized league structure for ALL levels from novice to super-pro, and of course it is SO EASY to get to a club, you could airdrop yourself in any German city and literally WALK to a club within 15 minutes in many cities.
it is unreasonable to expect a national or international organization to do everything for you, but the national associations that talk to schools, convince them to have programs, have clubs in schools, organize leagues, promote a positive image of TT, the national associations that FOSTER this usually have a lot of TT players at all levels with a strong participation base and many grass-roots elements and support.
In USA, this is non-existant, but is slowly developing and happening on its own (from grass-roots peoples and clubs) WITHOUT promotion or advertising or the USATT president calling up every school to try to get a program.
If I was USATT president and I had no budget, I would get together with some marketing and venture capitalist types to form a good promotion campaign and message, along with cost/benefit analysis, then work on personally contacting EVERY school in USA. Email is free (after internet bill of $30 a month is paid). Phones are practically free if you use Skype or similar service for $10 a month. National associations that have a tiny participation base of serious beginner or above OUGHT to be trying to pound the internet to get the word out. It takes mental energy and next to zero money to do this.
Leaders of a nationa organization should be relentless in getting TT suppliers on board to help this out. If BTY, with all their marketing savvy could realize that if they are the first supplier of choice to equip schools with proper equipment to get them started, that the soccer moms of the school TT players would fall over themselves buying them BTY Timo Boll ZLC blades, Tenergies, BTY shorts and 10 different jerseys, the schools buy replacemnt equipment as well and the residual business income from a national school system and the resultant spike in TT club purchases would be litterally astounding.
I would like to fire and national TT association leader who has not used repeated maximum effort to do this.
The last USATT president who even tried to do this and hold his subordinates accountable was Danny Seemiller himself, who later got fed up with the bullcrap resistance and red tape he couldn't cut through by himself./
Grass-Roots organiztions, once they get large enough can exert a good deal of influence towards establishing a larger player base, which creates more clubs, that possible gets more schools to have programs (we now have a few Uni in USA that give scholarships for TT) that produce more athletes that produce more leagues, that produce more champions and competitors.... You see the point.
I puke every time I think of how our national association is failing as a whole to accomplish this. Yeah, there are next to zero resources, but the USATT could do a heck of a lot more in hte areas I described above. Grass-Roots movement(s) are making up for this a lot, but it is working way too slow. The number of full time clubs with their own facility that finacially survice is a good indicator as we have moved from just a few to low double digits, but the total ammount of full time clubs we have in our entire large-azz nation would not properly service a city of 250,000 if it was in Asia or Europe.
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